Match Preview

MATCH PREVIEW: Earthquakes hit the road to face the Colorado Rapids

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The San Jose Earthquakes go on the road to take on the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, May 11. Kickoff from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, will take place at 6:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast globally on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass, as well as on local radio via AM 810 The Spread (English) and AM 1370 La Kaliente (Spanish).

It’s been a month to remember so far. With a raucous crowd of 43,774 fans behind them at Levi’s Stadium, the Earthquakes pulled off their most complete outing of 2024 last Saturday, beating Los Angeles FC 3-1. San Jose subsequently followed that effort with a 1-0 shutout of USL Championship side Oakland Roots SC in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 on Tuesday.

San Jose looks to ride this momentum heading into an away game this Saturday against Colorado. The Earthquakes have control of this Western Conference matchup, with a 32-26-29 all-time record. However, the last time they went on the road and took all three points from the Centennial State was 2013.

In order to reverse those 11 years of futility on the road, the Quakes have added some firepower to the lineup, adding Argentine budding star Hernán López from Godoy Cruz for a club-record transfer fee. The attacking midfielder made his creative presence known in his debut against LAFC and made his first start in the Black and Blue kit against Oakland on Tuesday.

Cristian Espinoza will continue to be the focal point of the Quakes’ attack, as he hopes to build upon his two career assists against the Rapids. The winger is coming off a Man of the Match and MLS Team of the Matchday performance against LAFC, providing two assists in the clash. Former Rapids goalkeeper William Yarbrough will face his former club for just the second time in his career. The shot-stopper produced a commanding display last weekend with six saves against LAFC. As a whole, the defense has conceded just two goals in their last three games in all competitions after conceding 24 in the first nine contests.

Colorado enters the matchup following a 2-0 away victory over New York City FC. Rafael Navarro continues to lead the line for the Rapids with a club-leading five goals. The forward found success the last time he faced the Earthquakes, notching two goals at PayPal Park in a 3-0 Colorado win in April. Midfielder Cole Bassett has provided support with four goals on the year, and has success against San Jose with three goals and three assists in his career against the Earthquakes.

San Jose will look to avenge their earlier defeat on Saturday, and head coach Luchi Gonzalez reflected on the previous meeting. “We did play them recently and we were quite disappointed with the result, losing 3-0 at home,” he said. “We did have a lot of shots and a lot of possession. But they were much more efficient than us and dangerous in the attacking third, and we paid the price [by] not defending in those moments and not putting away our chances. So, there’s not much I’m going to need to tell our guys. They would love to play Colorado again and at Colorado knowing that it’s a very good team.”

After stepping in for injured goalkeeper Daniel in March, Yarbrough has found a rhythm in goal for the Quakes. After 101 appearances for the Rapids, Yarbrough is no stranger to the environment his teammates are about to experience firsthand.

“I had great memories there,” he said. “I’m very appreciative of the years I spent there. I want to go and win there. … I know exactly what type of atmosphere we’re going into and what to expect. … It’s always nice to see familiar faces and people I spent a lot of time with, but you know, as soon as the whistle blows, there’s a switch in my mind to where all I’m thinking about is finding ways to get three points.”

With the Quakes aiming to stretch their unbeaten streak to four games in all competitions on Saturday night, it will take all hands on deck to come out of Commerce City with a result.